Skip to main content

Full text of "[untitled] The American Historical Review, (1902-07-01), pages 777-778"

See other formats


STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



Salomon: William Pitt yyy 

tion. The late Dr. George H. Moore about thirty years ago secured 
data favoring this site, and we have discovered Hessian records which, 
while they do not contradict, speak much in favor of that view. It is 
regrettable that the brevity of the index (4 pp. ) makes it almost useless 
as a guide to the persons, places and events mentioned in the volume. 

William Pitt, Von Felix Salomon. Band I. Bis zum Ausgang 

der Friedensperiode, 1793. Teil I. Die Grundlagen. (Leipzig: 

Teubner, 1901. Pp. xiv, 208). 

Even to an age which had seen Fox a member of Parliament at nine- 
teen, the successful premiership of Pitt at twenty-five appeared a marvel. 
This work undertakes to solve the mystery. Without slighting in Pitt's 
genius and training the personal factors in the problem, the author de- 
parts from the traditional view by casting elsewhere the weight of his 
explanation. In Chatham, Dr. Salomon sees not merely the illustrious 
father of a still greater son. He was the founder of a political, as Adam 
Smith was of an economic, system which together formed the basis of 
Pitt's public career. The author accordingly after sketching, in the first 
chapter, the history of Pitt's family and youth to the death of Chatham, 
compares, in the second (pp. 39-1 n), the political doctrines of Chat- 
ham with those of Burke and of George III. Of these the last, a belated 
champion of royal absolutism, effected a puny revival of the old Tories ; 
Burke, the versatile apologist of parliamentary absolutism and party gov- 
ernment, became the regenerator of the old Whigs ; while Chatham, who 
professed to be above party, founded in the end a new Toryism. 

The germ of Chatham's political system was his theory of the laws. 
In his view, these were not, as was held by Burke, an arbitrary growth of 
rights based upon prescription. They were the masterpieces of the 
human reason, invested as such, in their constitutional forms, with an 
authority almost sacred. The Revolution of 1688 Chatham held to be 
not a mere defeat of the King nor victory of Parliament. It was a tri- 
umph of the law, and the puppetdom to which the Whigs, from a con- 
trary belief, had depressed the throne under the first and second Georges, 
was a breach of the constitution. But the touchstone of his as of all polit- 
ical doctrine of the time lay beyond these domestic problems, in the 
American question. With respect to the colonies the King asserted both 
the right and the expediency of arbitrary taxation. Burke denied the 
expediency, but, true to his Whig partiality for parliamentary absolutism, 
he asserted the right. Chatham denied both. The King's American 
subjects, Chatham held, stood in the same relation to the constitution as 
did their British brethren : under it they could not be taxed arbitrarily, 
from it they could not withdraw. With Burke then, the resistance of the 
colonies was illegitimate but excusable ; and once they had established a 
de facto independence, there was nothing in his theory of the law to jus- 
tify an effort at reconquest. History had simply taken a turn which he 
was prepared to register. With Chatham, the resistance was legitimate, 
the secession was not. The constitution violated by the King and Par- 



778 Reviews of Books 

liament was still binding upon offender and offended, and for its mainte- 
nance in America Chatham would continue a struggle almost hopeless. 

Thus does the author harmonize Chatham's attitudes at various stages 
of this conflict. The political consistency of that statesman indeed he 
vindicates throughout against the criticism of Macaulay and Lecky. 
Between Chatham's political and economic views he finds on the contrary 
a want of harmony. A reformer in the political, Chatham was, in the 
economic sphere, like his Whig opponents, a mercantilist. Burke, oddly 
enough yet not inconsistently, disagreed on this point with his party, and 
developed within it more liberal economic views. Pitt, being forced to 
look elsewhere than to Chatham for an economic mentor, found this in 
Adam Smith who, in a work unsystematic in itself, expanded the teach- 
ings of Child, Davenant, Tucker and Hume into the new economic sys- 
tem based, in its philosophy, on Locke, Shaftesbury, and Newton. A 
discussion at large of this system and of that which it displaced is, in 
connection with the contemporary social and economic development of 
England, the theme of the third, concluding chapter. It closes with this 
observation : while the old Tories, out of opposition to the Whig aristo- 
cracy, made the first attack upon the old economic system, the theory of 
the new was first perfected by Whigs of the Burke school, amongst whom 
is Smith ; but those theories were applied in practice by none of these ; 
they were the complement, on the economic side, of Chatham's political 
system, and as such were they adopted and applied by the new Toryism 
founded by Chatham and called to power, when the loss of America had 
humbled the King and tempered his ambition, in the person of Chatham's 
son. 

Dr. Salomon is an investigator, of independent judgment, who, in 
the effort to exhaust all available material, has pursued even single letters 
in private hands. There is in his work depth of thought and brilliance 
of idea : there is also a want of clearness enhanced by a style difficult 
and diffuse. That he has at points wandered somewhat far afield, he 
himself seems not altogether unconscious. His manifest purpose is not 
merely to narrate the incidents of Pitt's life, but to illustrate, by a poli- 
tical biography the role of Pitt in English history. The measure of his 
success is still uncertain. To estimate it by the portion of the work 
before us would be to judge a mansion by its threshold. 

H. M. Bowman. 

The French Revolution and Religious Reform. An Account of Eccle- 
siastical Legislation and its Influence in Affairs in France from 
1789 to 1804. By William Milligan Sloane. (New York : 
Charles Scribner's Sons. 1901. Pp. xxvii, 333.) 
The importance of the subject treated in this volume will be acknowl- 
edged by all students of the French Revolution. The Old Regime was 
so thoroughly ecclesiastical that it is a matter of some surprise that the 
fortunes of the French church should have so generally been treated as a 
secondary matter. Of late years this want has been remedied to a con-